Once again, the best piece of music-related video wasn’t a music video this week; it was this haunting performance from Neil Young and Willie Nelson, and we can thank CMT, of all possible cable networks, for its existence. (Jim James on Letterman was also pretty great.) Meanwhile, weirdo giants of the music-video field like Nabil and Die Antwoord turned in not-great work. But this week, as any other week, still had its share of straight-up good music videos. We’ve got five of them below.
5. Shabazz Palaces – “An Echo From The Hosts That Profess Infinitum” (Dir. Joris Grelet)
Ninjas don’t dress in all-black to look cool. They dress in all black so they can blend in with the night and go undetected. The whole idea of a high-fashion Afrocentric ninja sort of defeats the entire idea of being a ninja, unless they’re heading out to murder people in high-end furniture boutiques or whatever. It does, however, look extra cool.
4. METZ – “Get Off” (Dir. Chad VanGaalen)
Animated music videos like this, ones that try for an underground-comics sense of junkyard surrealism, don’t often turn out well. This one, however, gets almost supernaturally weird with it, to the point where I had absolutely no idea what was coming next and I was actually curious. It probably helps that it’s set in an actual junkyard.
3. Juicy J – “One Of Those Nights” (Feat. The Weeknd) (Dir. Sam Pilling)
Quick! Someone cast Abel Tesfaye in an existential hitman movie! Right now!
2. Wavves – “That’s On Me” (Dir. Brandon Dermer)
After a couple of decades of grating advertisements and ooky right-wing jokes, it can be hard to remember why anyone ever thought Gallagher was worth a shit. And then you watch a husky middle-management guy using a samurai sword to cut through plastic soda bottles in slo-mo, and you’re like, “Oh right, that’s why.”
1. Small Black – “No Stranger” (Dir. Mandy Mandelstein & Addison Mehr)
It’s probably just because I rewatched Before Sunrise last week, but I am lately finding myself vulnerable to romantic train-encounter narratives. This is a good one of those. (If I was the person who owned that mansion at the end, though, this would not be my favorite video of the week.)